Portfolio - FULL FRONTAL

Artist ELLEN HALLIE SCHIFF’s new suite of work, FULL FRONTAL, casts shade on the belief that anything is direct, simple, without agenda or pure.


Ms. Schiff works with a familiar format: a rectangle on a ground within the confines of a square. She manipulates this theme throughout her work, and although repetitive, she fascinates us with variation and complexity. Things are not always as they seem. Rectangles disintegrate, drip and shade, becoming at once part of an object, as well as fore and background. At times, the rectangle is shaded by an unknown source outside of its given picture plane, or covered by a network of vertical lines, masking its integrity, but not annihilating it. The rectangle appears as energy, defined by a faint intermittent outline. We know intuitively, the subject is the rectangle. In this abstract allegorical narrative, Schiff suggests that experience, however illusory, is mediated by what is expected or hoped for. FULL FRONTAL is a subtle and directionally positive and divine message.


As Schiff returns to her familiar motif, she uses it not as an anchor, but a diving board, from which to spring idiosyncratic lines, splatters, heavily layered paint, color gradations and drips. The rectangle in a square is an expansive format for the artist’s process-driven abstractions. Her palette ranges from neutral to the hottest colors of the spectrum, or a monochromatic blend of a pastel and white.


Each painting, with its essential elements, elicits a different story, a narrative, that although individual, relates to the whole collection.


Our rectangle, the protagonist, endures the changes from its painted and shaded environment, returns from attacks on its wholeness, maintains its integrity, and appears to be illuminated internally. Not with incandescent light. Incendiary.

—Frances Coleman; Ariel Fine Art


See Ellen's Work at
Red Dot Art Fair, Miami
December 4-8, 2019
Booth 607/Studio Jackie